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#SayTheirNames: List of 19 Assassinated Black Activists And Leaders In History | Black Excellence

The assassination of Brazilian politician and civil rights activist Marielle Franco has set the world ablaze with protest and flooded social media with the hashtag #sayhername in an effort to shed light on not only her murder but on the important issues she stood up and died for. In honor of Marielle, we have complied a list of black activists, leaders, politicians, and civil rights workers who were assassinated because of their work. 

Although we did our best to include everybody, we apologize ahead of time for any important figures we left out of the list. Let us Say Their Names to honor them for paying the ultimate sacrifice for their convictions and in an effort to improve the lives of those in the communities and countries they loved so much. Most were killed by those in the opposition, be it police, organization, extremists. But some were killed by the people in their own circles, due to disputes small and big. 


1. Thomas Sankara- Politician, Burkina Faso, (December 21 1949 – October 15, 1987)

2. George W. Lee- Civil rights leader, USA (December 25, 1903 – May 7, 1955)

3. Amilcar Cabral- Freedom fighter, Guinea-Bisaau, (September 12, 1924- January 20, 1973)

4. Leon Jordan- Politician and civil rights leader, USA (May 6, 1905- July 15, 1970)

5. Sammy Younge Jr.- Civil rights activist, USA (November 17, 1944 – January 3, 1966)

6. James E Chaney- Civil rights worker, USA (May 30, 1943 – June 21, 1964)

7. Malcom X- Civil rights leader, USA (May 19, 1925– February 21, 1965)

8. Patrice Lumumba- Politician, Democratic Republic of the Congo (July 2, 1925- January 17, 1961) 

9. Fred Hampton- Member of Black Panther Party, USA (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969)

10. Vernon Dahmer- Civil rights activist, USA (March 10, 1908- January 10, 1966)

11. Agathe Uwilingiyimana- Politician, Rwanda (May 23, 1953- April 7, 1994)

12. Martin Luther King Jr.- Civil rights activist, USA (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

13. Lamar Smith- Civil rights worker, USA (1892 – August 13, 1955)

14. Clementa C. Pinckney- Politician, USA (July 30, 1973 – June 17, 2015)

15. Harriette Moore- Civil rights worker, USA (June 19, 1902 – January 3, 1952)

16. Harry T. Moore- Civil rights leader, USA (November 18, 1905 – December 25, 1951)

17. Medgar Evers- Civil rights activist, USA (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963)

18. Jimmie Lee Jackson- Civil rights activist, USA (December 16, 1938 – February 26, 1965)

19. Marielle Franco- Politician, Brazil (July 27, 1979- March 14, 2018)  

#SayTheirNames and #SayHerName

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Roman Debotch is a filmmaker, photographer, and co-founder of blackexcellence.com. Through the platform that is Black Excellence, she has been able to marry her passion for story telling with her passion for issues affecting the black community. Roman earned her B.A. in Film and TV Studies and ventured into the world of video production after college. She produced music, corporate, and event videos for years before co-founding BlackExcellence.com. Since then, she has been working as a contributor to the platform as well as continuing her video production business. The very limited time Roman is away from either writing or shooting a video, she can be found hiking or enjoying one of Southern California's beautiful beaches.

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